December swine inventory larger than expected

December swine inventory larger than expected

The U. S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service’s latest Quarterly Hogs and Pigs Report exceeded most projections.

The total U.S. hog inventory on Dec. 1 was 73.23 million head, 2.4 percent higher than a year ago, but slightly lower than the inventory on Sept. 1, according to the report released on Dec. 22. Market hog inventory was an all-time high for the first of December at 67.051 million head, 2.5 percent higher year over year. The number of pigs saved per litter was a record for the Sept.-Nov. time frame at 10.74.

Iowa’s inventory was down slightly from the previous quarter. There were 22.8 million hogs and pigs on Iowa farms as of Dec. 1, down from 22.9 million on Sept. 1, but a record inventory for the date and 3 percent more than last year.

The Sept.-Nov. quarterly Iowa pig crop was 6.13 million head, up 197,000 head from the previous quarter and 2 percent above last year. A total of 550,000 sows farrowed during this quarter. The average pigs saved per litter was 11.15, down slightly from last quarter.

As of Dec. 1, Iowa producers planned to farrow 530,000 sows and gilts in the December 2017-February 2018 quarter and 535,000 head during the March-May 2018 quarter.

Most estimates were marginally larger than analyst expectations, but futures markets appeared unfazed by the report’s release.